Koch brothers

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Yet another NYT digital tier?

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Another NYT subscription tier? Lucia Moses reports: “According to a survey sent to readers this week, the new offering would give users 30 articles a month for $8, over 45 percent lower than the current cheapest offering.” (Digiday) | The Times has also floated the prospect of a shorter print edition in a survey, Joe Pompeo reported last week. (Capital) | The launch of its most recent digital products “has been anything but smooth.” (Poynter) | Sam Kirkland shows you how to save money on your NYT sub. (Poynter)
  2. Edward Snowden to stay longer in Russia: He got a three-year residence permit, his lawyer says. He’ll be able to travel abroad.
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Forbes: Newhouses’ fortune increases

Advance Publications owners Donald and Samuel “Si” Newhouse added to their fortunes last year, Forbes reports in its annual list of America’s richest people. Forbes estimates Donald Newhouse’s net worth as $8.2 billion. It was $6.6 billion in the previous year’s list.

Si Newhouse placed a little higher, with a net worth of $8.9 billion. It placed him at $7.4 billion last year. Donald is the nation’s 52nd richest person, Forbes says (he was 51 last year) and Si is No. 46, the same spot he had the year before.

Other media types on the list: Read more

New Newspaper Owners

Dodgers owner on Los Angeles Times: ‘If the price were right, I would buy it’

The Los Angeles Times

Dodgers owner Mark Walter says he’s interested in buying the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, “in part because he is interested in increasing the diversity and improving the quality of information available to the public,” Bill Shaikin writes.

“The Los Angeles Times says something,” Walter said before the Dodgers played the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium. “It means something. It’s a brand. I think people have undervalued that. If the price were right, I would buy it.”

Walter is the CEO of Guggenheim Capital, LLC. Tribune Co., which owns both papers, has been exploring a sale of its newspaper properties but is said to prefer to sell them together. Some of its other newspapers are The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant and the Orlando Sentinel. Read more


Who abandoned negotiations first: Koch brothers or Tribune?

The Daily Caller | The Wrap | The New York Times | Los Angeles Times | Free Press

Charles and David Koch walked away from negotiations to buy Tribune Co.’s newspapers because digital assets like CareerBuilder and Classified Ventures wouldn’t convey with the sale, Josh Peterson reported in The Daily Caller Thursday afternoon.

“They’re basically such an important part of the revenue,” a “source with knowledge of the proceedings” told Peterson, “in a way that if they sold them, it goes away.”

Peterson says “both parties walked away from the negotiations” and a source tells him the Koch brothers lost interest “a couple months” ago. But “An executive close to the situation” told The Wrap’s Sara Morrison “Tribune stepped away from the idea of selling to the Koch brothers two months ago.” Read more


Petitioners ask FCC to block Gannett-Belo deal

Free Press | Variety

Gannett and Belo are trying to get around FCC cross-ownership rules by transferring broadcast licenses to shell companies, Free Press and other groups say in a petition asking the FCC to block the companies’ planned merger.

Gannett announced in June it would buy Belo, making it the fourth-largest owner of major network affiliate stations. The company already owns many newspapers. Investors have cheered the deal.

Time Warner Cable, the American Cable Association and DirecTV have also filed a petition opposing part of the deal, Ted Johnson reports. Those entities say “the deal threatens to drive up retransmission fees and risk even more station blackouts in negotiation standoffs,” Johnson writes.

“These arrangements attempt to mask the true intent and effect of the transaction: to allow Gannett to simultaneously influence and control multiple media outlets in the same local market in a way that is contrary to the public interest and otherwise prohibited by the Commission’s rules,” Free Press’ petition (embedded below) says. Read more

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Chicago Sun Times Photographer Layoffs

Proposed Tribune split may be bad news for Sun-Times’ owner

Tribune announced Wednesday that it intends to split into two companies. So what does that mean for Tribune print properties and the entities that aim to acquire them?

Trouble for the Chicago Sun-Times’ owner: That’s according to Lynne Marek, who says Wrapports LLC’s hopes to buy The Chicago Tribune now appear more farfetched.

Tribune’s broadcasting arm would likely keep the newspaper division’s real estate and the company’s investments in digital assets like CareerBuilder, lowering the value of The Chicago Tribune and thus any price Wrapports might pay, but the move also appears to kick a newspaper sale down the road. And the Sun-Times is losing money right now.

The biggest financial concern for the company is the hefty $70 million a year it must pay a year to Chicago Tribune to print and distribute the Sun-Times papers.

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Parody site ‘Kochifies’ Los Angeles Times stories

Kochify the News

“Kochify the News” is part of a campaign by a group called Forecast the Facts to discourage Tribune Co. from selling its newspapers to the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch, who are reportedly considering their purchase.

The site mimics the look of the Los Angeles Times’ homepage, and if you click a story, its headline and deck change to what the activists say news would look like under the Kochs’ leadership.

A story titled “Part-Timers To Lose Pay Amid Health Act’s New Math,” for instance, becomes “Win-Win: Employees To Get Free Vacay While Being Saved From Obamacare.” “Lakers’ Pau Gasol Undergoes Knee Procedure” becomes “Sports: Current Health Care System Already Working Perfectly (for Millionaire Athletes)”

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Charles Koch: ‘There is a need for focus on real news’

The Wall Street Journal

Koch Industries is considering buying newspapers, Charles Koch tells The Wall Street Journal’s James R. Hagerty and William Launder:

“There is a need for focus on real news, not news with an agenda or not news that is really editorializing,” Mr. Koch said in an interview.

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Anti-Koch protesters rally in Beverly Hills

Los Angeles Times | Baltimore Brew | Huffington Post | Bloomberg

People upset by the possibility of Charles and David Koch buying Tribune’s newspapers held a rally in Beverly Hills, Calif., Thursday, marching to Tribune Chairman Bruce Karsh’s home. “About 100″ people protested, Meg James reports.

“Every great city deserves a great newspaper. Here in Los Angeles, we need the L.A. Times to capture the local diversity of our voices, issues and our stories,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of Common Cause. “Honest, credible journalism is one of the most important keys to our democracy.”

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Koch Industries building

Koch brothers acquiring Tribune newspapers? I’d bet against it

I’m not a fan of speculating who will buy newspapers that are on the block. But I’ll make an exception with some quick thoughts on Tribune Co.’s publishing group — currently attracting investor interest as expected but likely months away from actually being sold.

The buzz has gotten buzzier with reports that David and Charles Koch are interested bidders and would infuse the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune with their conservative political agenda.

I don’t think that is very likely to happen for a simple reason. It would be a bad business move, running a high risk of alienating news staff, readers and advertisers. And say what you will about the Kochs’ big-money political offensives, these guys are supposed to be savvy businessmen, right?

Duke professor James T. Read more

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